Supportive teams

The plan emphasises the fact that teamworking is central to the NHS, commenting that members of the team are “united by a desire to provide the very best care and support not just to those using NHS services, but also to each other”. It acknowledges that NHS teams are formed by people from many different professions and roles, and individuals need to work together in a flexible way to respond to the changing needs of patients. Being in a diverse team gives the opportunity to learn from each other’s experience, specialisms and skills.

In addition, the ‘People Promise’ says that NHS colleagues must support each other when times are tough, give each other the space to innovate, and take time to celebrate successes – small and large.

Flexible working

The plan states that work shouldn’t mean that staff have to sacrifice family, friends or interests. The NHS should offer ‘predictable working patterns and hours’, that staff have had a say in agreeing, to ensure the wellbeing of all those working within the health service. New rostering technology should help facilitate more control over this. It adds that staff should be able to work

flexibly, regardless of role, and less than full-time working should not be a barrier to progress in the NHS. The People Plan acknowledges that, although it is not always easy to accommodate individual work preferences, unless the NHS becomes a flexible, modern employer in line with other sectors, it will continue to lose people or see participation rates decline. Flexible working is about more than just retention. It can unlock new opportunities and contribute

to people’s mental health, wellbeing and engagement with their role. In addition, if staff have unpaid caring duties, they should be supported and helped to return to work if they need to take time off to look after someone. Staff should also be able to come back to the NHS even after they retire, if they still want to contribute their expertise.

Continuous learning The Plan states that there should be opportunities to learn and develop while working for the NHS – with regular reviews of workload, and opportunities for two-way feedback and appraisals. Staff should be supported to invest in their careers, through formal and informal training, to reach their personal and professional goals. The time, space

and funding must be provided to achieve this. Staff should have equal access to opportunities – with fair and transparent selection processes that attract, develop and retain talented people from all backgrounds.

Safe and healthy The People Plan states that improving the working experience of all NHS staff – which includes improving their health and wellbeing, increasing civility and respect, and increasing their safety – is a must. It is important to create an organisational culture of compassionate leadership, improved workforce resilience and support for NHS staff. If done right, there will be a reduction in staff leaving, a reduction in staff sickness absence and fewer incidents of bullying, harassment, violence and abuse. The People Plan adds that NHS colleagues must be considerate of each other’s time and mindful of each other’s workload and the physical and emotional impact this can have.

While staff may choose to go the extra mile to deliver exceptional care, they need to look after themselves and each other. Wellbeing is a priority and staff should be supported to stay mentally and physically fit and healthy through working hour limits, healthier food choices and access to schemes to help them stay in shape. If a member of staff is unwell, they should be given the help they need and supported to take the time to recover and return to work at their own pace.

Occupational health and wellbeing

services should be available when required, with rapid access to help with work-related mental and physical injury and illness. Staff should have clean, safe spaces to rest and reflect, and have access to hot food and drinks, including fresh water.


©Robert Kneschke -

©2013 Sean Locke Photography

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